Jessicake is the biggest star of the new “Shopkins Live! Shop It Up!” musical hitting the stage at NYCB Theatre at Westbury on Sunday, Oct. 1, but the actress who plays that role says she has to hand it to her co-star Bubbleisha, who she says has the funniest moment in the performance.
“One of my favorite scenes in the show, that the girls will love, too, is when Bubbleisha goes a little bit nuts over candy. I think the crowd is going to roar with laughter, and it’s a great song, too,” says Canadian actress Colleen Furlan. The name of the tune: “Sugar Shakes.”
“Shopkins Live! Shop It Up!” is the first stage show based on the popular children’s miniature collectible line from Moose Toys, which gives names and personalities to grocery store items such as Strawberry Kiss and Apple Blossom and includes Shoppies dolls such as Jessicake and Bubbleisha. The plot centers on the toy line’s Shoppies doll characters, who are preparing their booths at the Funtastic Food and Fashion Fair.
The 90-minute performance has two acts and a 15-minute intermission. And, of course, the sale of show merchandise.
“We’ve got some very special items, including show-specific logo T-shirts,” artistic director Patti Caplette says.
TIME WAS RIGHT
“Shopkins is, of course, a huge brand for girls ages 5 to 9, which is a really exciting demographic for Koba Entertainment to put on a show for,” Caplette says, referring to the Toronto-based production company. “The past nine months have been entirely about putting the production up.”
Koba is no stranger to kids’ live shows — it’s brought to the stage the Backyardigans, Dora the Explorer and Bubble Guppies, for instance. This is the company’s 43rd production in 14 years, Caplette says.
The Shopkins cast features 12 actors — just two of them male — and 16 songs. Some other Shopkins faves that will come to life include Polli Polish, Rainbow Kate, Cocolette, Peppa-Mint and Pirouetta. Slick Breadstick — a French baguette with a curly mustache and a black beret — is one of the show’s male characters. “I picked the ones that are popular, plus the ones that could be grouped together to create the kind of show that I envisioned,” Caplette says.
The show kicked off in Buffalo on Sept. 14. It is scheduled to travel to 110 cities in the United States and 35 in Canada.
Actress Furlan, who is 24, says she “had no idea” what Shopkins were until one of the girls in a dance class she used to teach brought in a broccoli character and a doughnut character. Now, Furlan’s playing the top banana — grocery item pun intended — of the Shopkins bunch. “My costume is kind of a human cupcake, with sprinkles on it and cherries,” Furlan says.
During the play, each Shopkin has a booth to decorate at the Funtastic Fair. Jessicake, who loves decorating cupcakes, has a cupcake booth; Polli Polish has a beauty salon. Jessicake becomes a bit of a diva, striving to win all the awards at the festival, which gets her into trouble.
“She really tries her best at everything. So many different prizes she could win; she wants to win all the prizes,” Furlan says — best-decorated booth, best speech. “There’s quite a few she busies herself with.”
Translating toy items into stage characters has been a double-edged sword, Furlan and Caplette agree. They don’t have a character’s established personality to work from, but then they have the license to develop who the character is themselves. “It’s a difficult but wonderful challenge,” Caplette says.